Preparing your home for your new puppy

The big day is here! You have chosen your puppy. Whether your puppy is coming from a shelter or a breeder, it really doesn’t matter right now. You have a precious young puppy coming to live with you and you need to get your home ready to receive him.

Do you have the thing you will need for your puppy? Do you have a bag of the same food that he has been eating? You don’t want to make any fast changes in his diet even if you don’t like his current food. Coming to your house will be a huge adjustment for your puppy and you want to keep his food the same to avoid any stomach upsets. Your puppy may have diarrhea anyway because of the changes and stress. No need to make things worse by changing food.

Do you have a collar and leash ready to go get your puppy? The collar should be big enough to fit snugly around your puppy’s neck and allow you to fit two fingers between the collar and neck. A leash that is four to six feet long is usually good. Don’t use a retractable leash at this point. They take some skill to use and you will have your hands full trying to watch your puppy and look out for him. Keep him walking close to you so he won’t stray into something he shouldn’t and become frightened. Nylon collars and leashes are fine. Your puppy is still growing so you probably don’t want to invest in expensive leather collars and leashes or fancy embroidered pieces yet.

Do you have bowls or pans for food and water? Ceramic bowls or steel pans are usually best. Avoid plastic bowls. The plastic can contain chemicals that irritate some dogs’ noses and skin.

Do you have a place for your puppy to sleep? There are many wonderful, soft dog beds for cuddling available online and in pet supply stores. These make great places for your puppy to sack out when he’s tired. It’s up to you whether you will allow your puppy to get on furniture or sleep on your bed. That’s an entirely personal decision.

Whether you intend for your puppy to sleep in a crate or not you should purchase a crate for crate training. Crating your puppy is one of the best ways to help in the housetraining process. All dogs should learn crate training since crating is the safest way for dogs to travel in a vehicle. All dogs other than Toy dogs are crated when they fly on airplanes.

Do you have toys for your puppy? Treats? What self-respecting new dog owner hasn’t brought home some goodies so they can spoil their new puppy?

Before you bring your puppy home you should go through your house and pick up anything that you don’t want destroyed: pick up shoes, remote controls, cellphones, cameras, and clothes. Pick up anything that your little pint-sized ball of terror will want to put in his mouth. Because — and this is the truth — your puppy is a mouth full of teeth with legs. The world is new to him and he is trying to explore it by tasting and chewing everything in it. He will eat anything that you leave lying around for the next six months, at least. Puppies make us better housekeepers. If you want to keep something, put it up high where your puppy can’t reach it. If you think it’s high enough, put it up a little higher because he can probably find a way to reach it. You will come home one day and find your little darling staring at you from on top of the dining room table.

You should also look through your house for places where your puppy can get into things that he shouldn’t. Do you have cabinets that don’t close properly? Do you have a closet that doesn’t shut right? Do you have a cat litter box? (Put it up. Your puppy thinks those are dog treats.) Do you have things hidden under your bed? Whatever it is, wherever it is, you need to do something with it before your puppy finds it.

One of the most useful things you can do is to get down low and try looking at your house from your puppy’s eye-view. You may start to see some tempting things that you don’t usually notice. Try thinking like a curious little puppy.

You will inevitably miss some things. Your puppy is going to get into stuff. Just remember how adorable he is when he runs up to you with what’s left of your contact lens case.